Syngnathus abaster 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Syngnathiformes Syngnathidae

Scientific Name: Syngnathus abaster Risso, 1827
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Black-striped Pipefish
French Syngnathe
Syngnathus abaster ssp. ganzirrensis D'Ancona, 1934
Syngnathus agassizii Michahelles, 1829
Syngnathus algeriensis Günther, 1870
Syngnathus anguisigola Nardo, 1847
Syngnathus bucculentus Rathke, 1837
Syngnathus caspius Eichwald, 1831
Syngnathus ethon Risso, 1827
Syngnathus ethon ssp. aeolicus Di Caporiacco, 1948
Syngnathus flavescens Kaup, 1856
Syngnathus microchirus Moreau, 1891
Syngnathus nigrolineatus Eichwald, 1831
Syngnathus nigrolineatus ssp. maeoticus Slastenenko, 1938
Taxonomic Source(s): Risso, A. 1827. Histoire naturelle des pricipales productions de l'Europe méridionale. 5(i-vii): 1-403.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-05-20
Assessor(s): Pollom, R.
Reviewer(s): Ralph, G. & Freyhof, J.
Contributor(s): Kottelat, M. & Freyhof, J.
Syngnathus abaster is a freshwater and estuarine pipefish species that inhabits coastal waters and lower reaches of rivers throughout the Caspian, Black, and Mediterranean Seas, the Atlantic coast of Europe to the Bay of Biscay, and several rivers in northern Europe and Russia. The species occupies a wide variety of habitats, and there are no known threats. Therefore S. abaster is listed as Least Concern.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Syngnathus abaster inhabits coastal waters and lower reaches of rivers in the Caspian, Black and Mediterranean Sea basins, the Atlantic coast from Gibraltar to the southern Bay of Biscay; in the Danube reaching the Romanian-Hungarian border, and in the Dniepr reaching Kiev. The species has been introduced in reservoirs of the middle and lower Volga with mysids brought from the Don estuary, now spreading and already south of Moscow.
Countries occurrence:
Albania; Algeria; Azerbaijan; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Croatia; Cyprus; Egypt; France; Georgia; Gibraltar; Greece; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Israel; Italy; Kazakhstan; Lebanon; Libya; Moldova; Monaco; Montenegro; Morocco; Palestinian Territory, Occupied; Portugal; Romania; Russian Federation; Serbia; Slovenia; Spain; Syrian Arab Republic; Tunisia; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Ukraine
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – northeast; Mediterranean and Black Sea
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):UnknownEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):Unknown
Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:Unknown
Lower depth limit (metres):5
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:To date there have been no dedicated range-wide surveys or population estimates for S. abaster, but it is known to be common and abundant. Further research is needed in order to determine population size and trends in abundance for this species.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Unknown
Population severely fragmented:No
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:UnknownAll individuals in one subpopulation:Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Syngnathus abaster inhabits a wide range of marine, brackish- and fresh-water habitats, and is mostly associated with dense submerged vegetation but is also found on open mud bottom substrates (Kuiter 2000).

They live up to four years and spawn for the first time at one year. The spawning season occurs from April-October (Silva et al. 2006a). This species is ovoviviparous, and females lay eggs into a brood pouch on the ventral surface of the tail of males. Males fertilize the eggs as they enter the pouch. Eggs incubate in the male's brood pouch for about 20-25 days, followed by live birth (Silva et al. 2006b). This species is polygynandrous (Hubner et al. 2013). They likely feed on small invertebrates such as crustaceans, similar to other pipefish species (e.g., Garcia et al. 2005, Kendrick and Hyndes 2005). They reach a maximum length of 21 cm (Kuiter 2000).
Systems:Freshwater; Marine
Movement patterns:Unknown

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Although this species has not been directly identified in trade, pipefishes in general are often targeted and/or caught as bycatch and then traded for use in traditional medicine, as curios, and for the aquarium trade (Vincent et al. 2011). This species may be involved but it has not been recorded.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no major threats known to be impacting this species.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no species-specific conservation measures in place for S. abaster. The species occurs in several protected areas throughout its range. It is not mentioned in any international legislation or trade regulations.

Classifications [top]

5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.1. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls)
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.2. Wetlands (inland) - Seasonal/Intermittent/Irregular Rivers/Streams/Creeks
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.6. Marine Neritic - Subtidal Muddy
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.7. Marine Neritic - Macroalgal/Kelp
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.9. Marine Neritic - Seagrass (Submerged)
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.10. Marine Neritic - Estuaries

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
  Action Recovery plan:No
  Systematic monitoring scheme:No
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:No
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
  Area based regional management plan:Unknown
  Invasive species control or prevention:Unknown
In-Place Species Management
  Harvest management plan:No
  Successfully reintroduced or introduced beningly:No
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:Unknown
In-Place Education
  Subject to recent education and awareness programmes:No
  Included in international legislation:No
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:No
1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.4. Habitat trends

Bibliography [top]

Garcia, A M., Geraldi, R.M. and Vieira, J.P. 2005. Diet composition and feeding strategy of the southern pipefish Syngnathus folletti in a Widgeon grass bed of the Patos Lagoon Estuary, RS, Brazil. Neotropical Ichthyology 3(3): 427-432.

Hubner, K., Gonzalez--Wanguemert, M., Diekmann, O. E., and Serrao, E. A. 2013. Genetic evidence for polygynandry in the black-striped pipefish Syngnathus abaster: A microsatellite-based approach. Journal of Heredity 104(6): 791-797.

IUCN. 2016. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-3. Available at: (Accessed: 07 December 2016).

Kendrick, A.J. and Hyndes, G.A. 2005. Variations in the dietary compositions of morphologically diverse syngnathid fishes. Environmental Biology of Fishes 72: 415-427.

Kottelat, M. and Freyhof, J. 2007. Handbook of European Freshwater Fishes. Publications Kottelat, Cornol, Switzerland.

Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Seahorses, Pipefishes and Their Relatives: A Comprehensive Guide to Syngnathiformes. TMC Publishing, Chorleywood, England.

Silva, K., Monteiro, M.N., Vieira, M.N. and Almada V.C. 2006. Reproductive behaviour of the black striped pipefish Sygnathus abaster (Pisces, Sygnathidae). Journal of Fish Biology 69: 1860-1869.

Silva, K., Monteiro, N.M., Almanda, V.C. and Vieira, M.N. 2006. Early life history of Sygnathus abaster. Journal of Fish Biology 68: 80-86.

Svetovidov, A.N. 1964. [Fishes of the Black Sea]. Nauka, Moskva.

Vincent, A.C.J., Foster, S.J. and Koldewey, H.J. 2011. Conservation and management of seahorses and other Syngnathidae. Journal of Fish Biology 78: 1681-1724.

Citation: Pollom, R. 2016. Syngnathus abaster. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T21257A19423178. . Downloaded on 25 May 2018.
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